What on earth is the “metaverse”?

By | November 8, 2021

If you’ve noticed the tech news in the past couple of weeks, you might have heard something about Facebook changing its name to “Meta”. You might be wondering why (and what on earth the “metaverse” is when it’s at home).

Well – first things first.  

Facebook (the app and website) is still called “Facebook”, so you won’t really notice any changes at all as a Facebook user.  “Meta” is just the new name for the parent company of Facebook, which also owns Instagram, WhatsApp, Oculus (the virtual reality company) and all manner of other tech companies you’ve probably never heard of.

They’ve done it because they want to try and move their business away from just social media, and concentrate on one of creator Mark Zuckerberg’s pet projects – the “Metaverse”…

The general idea is that Facebook’s parent company, Meta, will work with other tech companies to develop the hardware and software to create a virtual reality world. The idea is that you’d be able to interact with this “metaverse” using a virtual reality headset. So, for example, instead of just having a group text chat in a messenger app with our friends and family, we could put on a headset and see them as “avatars” in front of us – a bit like computer game characters. As well as talking to each other, we could move around and interact “virtually”, even though we’re not physically in the same room.

The plan is to develop games that can be played in the metaverse as well – the company behind the game “Roblox” is pushing hard for it to happen sooner rather than later.

So, what do you need to do about it?  Absolutely nothing.  But at least now you know, and can have something to say if anyone asks your opinion on it when you’re picking up the paper and some milk at the local shop. (In person, not through a virtual reality headset.)

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